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Global hop market

A local alternative to mass beer suggested by independent brewers has been successful and is now altering the global market. Beer is becoming more diversified, so transnational companies have to accept the new game rules and to switch focus to young and fast growing markets. All these processes increased the demand for aroma and bitter hop as well as their acreage expansion on two continents. However now there appeared a downward trend of alcohol consumption in the world, so even special sorts can soon turn to be sufficient. In this connection the dynamic American hop market is already facing some problems. EU hop producers have become more cautious, they are not racing to exceed the demand and look forward with more confidence, judging by the contract terms. 

Hop Market in Russia

Germany still dominates the Russian market, yet over the recent two years one has been able observe a continuous success of Czech hop suppliers. Their expansion and growing popularity of hops from the United States became the drivers of supplies growth in 2016 despite the preceding modest harvest crop in the EU, as well as the factor of relative stability in 2017. In this connection, in 2017, the ratio of the varieties continued to shift towards the aroma ones, and the supplies of Magnum hop and other alpha varieties were reduced. However, the import of bitter hop pellets is partially replaced by extracts, especially from the major beer manufacturers. Total volumes of alpha acid supplies, according to our estimation, decreased by approximately 5% and returned to the level of 2015. Barth Haas Group continues dominating the hop products market; HVG also increased its weight. At the same time, Morris Hanbury significantly reduced the supplies in 2017.

Heineken, Bavaria win cuts in EU cartel fines

* Court cuts Heineken fine to 198 mln euros from 219.3 mln
* Bavaria cartel fine cut to 20.7 mln from 22.85 mln
* Court: EU regulator failed to prove illegal coordination
* Fines were for fixing Dutch beer prices from 1996 to 1999

(Adds Commission comments, shares)

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS, June 16 (Reuters) - Dutch brewer Heineken NV won a 10 percent cut in a cartel fine when Europe's second-highest court said EU regulators failed to prove it had violated EU laws by coordinating commercial terms with peers.

The Luxembourg-based General Court on Thursday reduced Heineken's penalty to 198 million euros ($280 million) from 219.28 million and also cut a fine for privately owned Dutch brewer Bavaria to 20.71 million euros from 22.85 million on the same basis.

The companies and a third Dutch brewer, Grolsch, were hit with a total fine of 273.78 million euros by the European Commission four years ago for fixing prices and coordinating commercial terms in the beer market in the Netherlands between 1996 and 1999.

"The Court considers that the Commission has not proved that the infringement concerned the occasional coordination of commercial conditions, other than prices, offered to individual customers in the on-trade segment," the Court said.

It said references contained in handwritten notes cited by the regulator as evidence of guilt were sporadic and brief and that the companies had submitted a plausible alternative explanation.

The Commission sought to play down the verdict, saying the Court had largely upheld its policy of imposing deterrent fines.

It also said it had now overhauled internal procedures to ensure cases would be handled promptly, without undue delays. Cartel investigations typically take several years until a decision is issued.

Heineken shares were down 0.6 percent at 39.87 euros by 1300 GMT versus a 0.4 percent decline in the Stoxx 600 food and beverage index .

An appeal by Grolsch against its 31.7 million euro fine is pending at the court. The company was acquired by world No. 2 brewer SABMiller in 2007.

InBev, which merged with Anheuser-Busch in 2008 to form the world's largest brewer AB InBev , received immunity in return for providing decisive information to the regulator.

17 Июн. 2011



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